Ep. 23: God
ON THIS EPISODE:
Today we’re talking about Belief—asking the question of whether or not we believe in God and sharing our own personal stories from our journeys. We’ll also talk about a carved pumpkin extravaganza, throw pillows (again!), racial tension in America, and we’ll give you a detailed review of what’s exactly in the Chasing Unicorn Giveaway.
Official Instagram: @HansowFamily
Personal Instagram: @MorganHansow and @DaveHansow
Timeline: 30 minutes total
I’m Morgan Hansow and this is my husband, Dave - we’ve spent the last 20 years on a wild adventure that’s taken us to Africa, the Oprah show, and Hollywood.
Welcome to Chasing Unicorns… a podcast about giving ourselves permission to chase our dreams, explore our faith, and figure out who we are, all while trying to keep our crap together!
As Creatives, Humanitarians, and Parents, we’re learning (sometimes the hard way) that the hustle and pursuit of the elusive unicorn will never satisfy.
Each week we explore what it looks like to live authentic, passionate, and connected lives while being a part of a movement that’s trying to transform the world through story + grace.
Overview of today’s show -
Welcome to Chasing Unicorns! Today we’re talking about Belief—asking the question of whether or not we believe in God and sharing our own personal stories from our journeys. We’ll also talk about a carved pumpkin extravaganza, throw pillows (again!), racial tension in America, and we’ll give you a detailed review of what’s exactly in the Chasing Unicorn Giveaway.
We’re back on schedule! Dave, you were gone for 6 days in Colorado for a marketplace retreat and you ended up having some brief time on either side to see friends and family in the Golden area. You stayed with our good friend’s Patrick & Shanna Maxcy. We’ve known Patrick for almost 8 years, he’s an incredibly talented artist that was in FL before we lured to CO - actually, he drew something for the Chasing Unicorn giveaway that we’ll be talking about later. But right after he picked you up from the airport in Denver, he took you to this extreme pumpkin extravaganza which sounded insane, explain what that is and how your picture will now be on the front page of the Arvada newspaper this week because of it.
Oh gosh, well, it was pretty insane. So Patrick’s newly married, and his wife, Shanna is a journalist for the newspaper around Denver. in Arvada, which is one of the suburb cities of the Denver area
Right, and side note, Arvada is the area where my brother and sister-in-law live too!
That’s right. So Shanna was assigned to do a story on this carved pumpkin festival art exhibit called Pumpkin Nights and as Press she got to go the night before it opened to the public to take pictures and notes to write a story. And so I got to tag-along with them and it was indeed pretty magical. It’s a halloween celebration without the creepy or scary and it was at a fairgrounds where you take a walking trail through all these different ‘lands’ of carved pumpkins that are all lit up. So there was a land based on Disney’s recent Coco movie, and there was an underwater land where carved pumpkins were hanging like jellyfish and octopus, and then there was a dragon and a pirate ship. I think it was something crazy, like 4,000 hand-carved pumpkins in total. And then there was local food trucks and nightly entertainment like dancers and fire breathers. And yes, a picture of Patrick and I (actually our backs) did make it into the article Shanna wrote - it’s all about who you know! Haha!
Well that sounds awesome!!! I love the creativity and fantastical element and I can only imagine how fun that is for families. It’s things like this that make me periodically bummed we live in a smaller city. And when you told me about it I went online to see pictures so I could get a better understanding and it’s actually a thing in multiple cities, so if you happen to live in the Denver area, you can check it out, but I think there was also a Pumpkin Nights in Salt Lake City, LA, and somewhere else in California so you can just google Pumpkin Nights.
And while you were gone, it was pretty much business as usual for the kids and I here.
Well I did notice you went shopping, as if we needed another one, I came home and there was a new throw pillow on our bed!
Haha! I was hoping you wouldn’t notice that right away, but you did! It’s the tiny gray pillow with a white ampersand, which is a symbol that holds a lot of meaning for us as a family and it was on clearance for $6 so I had to, but it does really tie everything up nicely, so yes, we do have 8 throw pillows on our bed now, but I showed you how it looked with and without it and you agreed, it ties things together!
That is true!
But I would say that we did miss you, but I think one of the things that made the time easier for me this last week was that I intentionally made sure I was connecting with adults or friends each day. Which is also REALLY important because I also learned this last week in my online course that social connection boosts our happiness. I will also say that single-parenting is much easier as the kids get older but it’s also VERY tiring. I found myself pretty much going to bed shortly after the kids went to bed each night. So to all of you single parents out there - you are amazing! You are doing an INCREDIBLE job taking care of and loving on your kids and I just want to validate that it’s no small feat and say that it all matters - every sacrifice you make and every thing you have carry and juggle by yourself. Even though you might feel alone or unseen, we acknowledge you and God sees you - you aren’t alone!
Very true! You are doing a kick-ass job! Alright, we should we get into it?
Yep, Can we start with the Giveaway?
Well, I know we’ve had a lot of connecting with our inner child in the last few episodes with the “Be Kind/Please Rewind” segment, but the giveaway just fits so perfectly, because this is a segment in which we connect with our inner child and give ourselves permission to drop the Adult BS to talk about and try things that add beauty, joy, wonder back to life
And the Giveaway is really designed to do that and since this is really your ‘Baby’ I’m going to let you roll with it…
Alright, so if you follow us on Instagram, you’ll know that we FINALLY launched the Giveaway that we’ve been mentioning or bringing up off/on for the last 3 months. I know I’m partial, but I think it’s super MAGICAL...and so today, I thought we’d just go through what’s all in this awesome Giveaway because you still have until October 30th at midnight to enter....
So we go…
GO THROUGH IT ALL! - talk about Lucky Charms and $200 value
Okay, and to enter this Giveaway, what do Listeners have to do?
Well, go to our Instagram page - our handle is @HansowFamily (h-a-n-s-o-w-family) and you’ll see a couple posts about it with directions, but essentially you’re going to like the post and then comment on the post by tagging a friend, oh and you do have to make sure you’re also following us on Instagram too, because we’ll check that when do the drawing for verification.
Awesome, and is there a limit on how many times someone can enter?
Nope, you can enter as many times as you want but here’s the catch, just make a new or separate comment for each person you tag
And the entries are due on October 30th right?
Yes, midnight (Pacific time) on October 30th and then we’ll actually do the random drawing and announce the winner live on next week’s podcast (and then we’ll also post to Instagram too). And I almost forgot, since this is like pounds, we can only ship within the US, so I’m sorry to our Canadian and Australian listeners!
Alright...that was magical, so Dave, are you ready to bring us on a Majestic Deep Dive?
My deep dive this week is a thought that I’ve wrestled with for years. It’s deeply personal, and yet I think it’s way more common than people like to give credence to. The question is - Do I believe in God?
Well… let me say that first off I didn’t grow up believing in God. I didn’t even have a grid for a God. It wasn’t a thought that even crossed my mind until late in my teenage years. I think sometimes when I share that part of my story people can shrug that off, but I truly had never even considered that there was something behind everything we experience. We weren’t even a Christmas and Easter family. Haha
When I was 16 years old I began dating this beauty, Morgan Daub, who was 15 at the time, and who introduced me to this idea of a loving God that not only made me and everyone around me, but that this God was actually for me. He was good, and he was for me. Morgan invited me to a Young Life camp called Woodleaf (that’s ironically, not far from where we live now in Northern California) and after I heard about this loving God, I was hooked. I was, like everyone on the planet, looking for connection and most of all - belonging. Especially in my teen years. I wanted to know I was loved and that I belonged.
So, years went by and my faith in this God developed from a nice cute little idea into the driving force of my life. The beautiful part about not being handed a faith when I was young, was that I didn’t have to believe anything that was handed down - instead, as a fully-functioning adult I was experiencing my faith for the first time. I totally felt the freedom to question and test everything I read or heard. I also never felt the need to defend my faith. That felt silly. It would be like trying to defend my love for Morgan - it just wouldn’t make sense. Love was supposed to be lived, not defended.
In college I took my first philosophy class and was captivated. Well… actually it was during this time that I read Mere Christianity by CS Lewis and was blown away by the freedom to explore a concept so big as God with logic and philosophy. My classes were asking huge questions about God, about why the world was the way it was, and how we could make sense of life itself. I went to a Liberal Arts school so there was only one other Christian in all of my classes, and he was super weird, but he was also way smarter than me. Philosophy was breathtaking to say the least. Once again I was hooked. Part of earning a philosophy degree included taking logic classes. So there would be days that we would prove logically that God could not exist, and I would come home telling Morgan, who by that time was my wife, that I wasn’t sure I could believe in God anymore. Or at the very least I would pose these types of logic questions. She wasn’t having it. And then there would be days where we would logically prove there literally had to be a creator behind this all. My faith would be restored. Haha
So, now I’m a 37-year-old who’s experienced a lot of life. We’ve sat with countless widows in huts in the middle of Africa who’ve experienced more loss than I could even imagine, and yet their faith would produce a joy that I couldn’t understand. I’ve watched first-hand life coming forth into this world through the woman I love as our son was born. I’ve had miraculous moments of clarity where I’ve literally heard a voice speak audibly about my destiny. Crazy, right? I’ve received grace due to my bad decisions from the woman across from me unlike I knew was possible. We moved across the world to adopt our beautiful daughter who is a perfect fit, and is everything we needed to complete our family. Somehow we’ve had miraculous provision for our family through years of taking more risks than I’d even recommend.
So…. do I believe in God?
I would be a fool to not take a question like this seriously with all of the grace & love I’ve been shown throughout my life. There has been a theme of love that has run throughout my life unlike most get to experience. I attend church weekly, and most Sundays I lift my hands in the air during worship, which btw is the international sign of surrender, and is how I view my worship of God most days - simply surrendering to the fact that I see a need for something bigger than myself - just a surrendering. And yet - I doubt all of the time. Sometimes while I’m in worship I doubt. Some days I think my faith is crazy. I think to myself… what the heck Dave… you actually believe there’s a being outside of what you see? Someone who made all of this? And somehow you’ve made the logical leap to believe that somehow this being is Good, and is for you? That’s a huge leap Dave.
So…. there’s this tension in my own being that I’ve not only learned to live with, but actually enjoy. And this is the foundation of my faith. A tension between all of my actual real-life experiences of love and grace, and then my logical brain that is built to doubt and question everything. Both of these are gifts. I don’t feel a need to land anywhere at this point in my life. Although I would say that how I live my life probably says more about my belief in God than my words do. So… do I believe in God? Well… I apparently I believe…
Wow! Well, first off, I really appreciate your transparency and vulnerability. I think we have mentioned this before on previous episodes but I think the American Christian Church isn't typically a place that gives much space for doubt and questions and you and I have found that to be pretty frustrating because having doubts and questions is part of what it is to be human and we need safe spaces with community friends and family who we can talk about explore those things and have the conversations that hopefully bring us further into the depths of love and grace and peace even if there is some Unknowing. The western church is pretty quick to judge, label, and exclude the people with questions or uncertainties AND yet that was the crux of Jesus’ ministry on earth. He hung out with those considered on the outside he consistently answered questions with questions or analogies and in the end He wasn’t hung up on specific ideologies, but on the concept of love - choosing love, over and over and over and he said the world would know His disciples by the way they love.
And actually as you were talking about certainty and questioning the certainty of God I think I recently had an epiphany moment when I was reading the book Eve by William Paul Young, who is also the author of The Shack. At one point in the story, Lily, the main character asks other character if he believes in God and he answers “no” pretty quick and I remember feeling a little jolted in my spirit because with everything I had read up until that point, it was very clear that this character did in fact believe in God, so I found myself stopping and getting a little flustered but then the next dialogue exchange, he responded and said something about words like ‘God’ and ‘believe’ being meaningless and how believe in God because he knows God and that when you know someone, believing is no longer a concern and that totally makes sense because once you know something or somebody the question is no longer whether you believe because you already know. I understand that to some extent it is about semantics but I also think it touches on a deeper core reality where we want to attach the comfort of words like certainty and belief to our faith because it feels safer as opposed to finding freedom in the fullness of the knowing. I just think that for me, it’s been years of undoing and getting to a place where I’m okay with continually unwrapping the mystery of Christ and knowing that there’s certain things I’m uncertain about (and that those uncertainties don’t affect or hinder my knowing) - if that makes sense?
Well, I didn’t expect this deep of a deep dive.... Right into our upbringing and our faith journey, but I’m wondering if we postpone our home office huddle for this week and keep going here? Because as you’ve had this journey of building up over the years, I’ve actually had a journey of tearing down and we could maybe explore that a little?
Sure - let’s mix it up!
Well, unlike you, I was raised In the church and I'm super grateful for that. Richard Rohr talks about how children who grow up in the church are more likely to come back to the church as adults and make it their own as opposed to people who weren’t exposed to God in their younger years. We attended non-denominational Christian Community Church and it was felt boards and Sunday school. I was building a solid foundation on the fact that Jesus loved me and died for my sins so I wouldn’t go to hell with the fire and gnashing of teeth. My job was to be good, not sin, and tell people about Jesus so they could be saved too. It was fine, but it wasn’t about abundant living or freedom or adventure. It felt like it was about sacrifice and everything was for sure very black/white. There was a lot of certainty surrounding the faith of my youth. I’m so passionate and driven and I hold to my convictions that my parents said I would make a great lawyer. In fact I was actually that girl who was defending God in school and arguing with my science teachers in high school. I think it’s silly now, but I look back and that girl I have grace for that rigid black/white ‘me’ because she was doing it out of a pure heart for all she had ‘known’ up until that point. Up to that point my knowing of God was not rooted in personal experiences of need or encounters with Spirit or the miraculous.
And then I came along…
Exactly, and then you came along! Haha
We laugh, but it is true. Things were fine for the first few years of our dating because I was growing up and you had a foundation of years in your faith and I was trying to catch up and then we got married and then I switched from a kinesiology major to a philosophy major
Yeah, I didn’t realize at the time what a big deal that was, maybe it was because I was 20 and even though I was married, I was still an adolescent (being a human development and family studies major I would learn that I got married as I was entering late adolescence, which extends through your early 20s). I think I should have been a little bit more nervous or scared at the time but I didn't even think to give it a second thought. I just saw you really excited and passionate about philosophy and it was actually a philosophy and religious studies degree but the only religions you actually studied were Eastern religions, not Christianity. And over the years we've had multiple people mention that’s pretty rare for someone to go to a liberal arts school for philosophy and eastern religions and not lose their Christian faith.
And like I interjected earlier, those years were hard for me. I didn’t feel permission to ask questions or to doubt and so we’d often get into fights, arguing and talking circles around each other. You just wanting me to think and ask questions because you knew I was intellectual and capable of talking and me shutting down the conversations because how could question, that was absurd, one just believed because you did and that’s what you were taught to do and that’s what I thought the Bible said.
Yeah, some pretty frustrating years for you but some incredibly freeing years for me!
Exactly, and my freedom wouldn’t come until later in life - in my mid-late 20s when our eyes started to get shifted off of our little bubble and our safe-american life. Our experiences in Uganda radically shifted our understanding of God and made us question a lot of the things we had been taught in the Western church. And even when we came back to America, we had some of our best friends lose their daughter in utero weeks before she was due. That year we walked through the loss of life with them and then our own marriage unraveled and when you find yourself in a place you’d never thought you’d be, the questions flow a lot easier. So I began to wrestle with my belief system - figuring out how I could reconcile what I had experienced, witnessed, and was walking through with the rigidity of my faith and it wasn’t working. Things were no longer black and white. I remember thinking: All this really shitty things aren’t supposed to happen to people who love God and follow him. So I had to throw out some of my beliefs and had to come know God on a whole new level - in the midst of suffering and that changed me. And as much as I hate the pain, I think the freedom I’ve had in the last decade in my faith - the ability to say Yes this is true, AND this is also true or even the ability to say, I have no idea, I have no answer or certainty in that and I don’t know that it matters- that freedom for me is the byproduct of pain, suffering, questioning, tearing down, and rebuilding and it’s a journey that continues today...now we’re here, living in Redding, encountering Spirit, the facet of the Holy Posse I’ve neglected to get to know until these last 5 years and I’m still having to ask questions and rearrange and make space for the enlightenment.
just think it’s always a journey and I’m loving the knowing - the experiences with God what shake things up and remind me all over again, almost on a daily basis, that it’s not about belief.
It’s been quite the journey with you babe… it’s been fun and we’ve literally grown up together - grown up physically but also spiritually. I really love this adventure and I know that our faith and knowing of God is more rooted and vibrant and free and life-giving than it’s ever been and since that’s really at the core of our identities and our family, I can’t wait to see the things that come out of this foundation we’re laying together! So that officially wraps the LONGEST Deep Dive section to date!
On the Screen - in which we visit and review what we’re watching this week
So this past week we attended the cinema, and watched an incredibly impactful film, “The Hate U Give.”
Yes, and just to clarify although it sounds like You, it’s actually the letter U - The Hate U Give
Right! Well, after reading the reviews and seeing what common sense media said about the film, we figured our kids, ages 12, and 13 would be fine seeing it, and so we picked the kids up from school and did a mid-afternoon film. First off I would say that I was super thankful that we took the kids, as the film stirred up so many thoughts, emotions and just good conversations with them. This is a film that you take with you once you leave the theater. But, I would say the language is a little heavier than I was thinking and there’s a few really heavy scenes, which aren’t really appropriate for families with younger kids.
So… my review. I don’t know if I’ve seen a film that invoked as much tightness of my chest as well as real-life tension as this movie did. Because the content, namely racial tensions in America, hit so close to home, it felt incredibly personal. I watched and thought of our friends who’ve been explaining what it can feel like as a Black American even in a town like Redding where we’re from… but this was the first time I saw it play out right in front of me. The movie also did a beautiful job of showing so many different angles. There wasn’t just a hero and a villian. There is complexity.
So, I would wholeheartedly give this a 10 or 11 out of 11. It was a hard film to watch, but it also wasn’t so heavy that I wasn’t able to watch. I needed to see it, and can’t help but think that so many others would benefit from seeing it. What did you think babe?
Well, going back to Common Sense Media, on there parents had said it was appropriate for kids ages 12 and up and kids rated it for ages 11 and up and after taking our kids I would say this is definitely probably more appropriate for kids 13+. There’s language and violence and in order to be true to the story, which takes place in a poor, predominantly black, urban community. There’s drugs, violence, and gangs and you just can’t be authentic without being authentic. But the storyline is about a teenage girl named Starr, who lives in this community but her parents drive her to a private school in the suburbs to get away from the drugs, gangs, and teen pregnancy and so she finds herself a black girl who is subdividing her life between two personas - acting ‘white’ in her mostly white prep school and then acting ‘ghetto’ when she’s in her community - never really being her true self. And then she ends up witnessing a black friend being killed by a white police officer (I’m not ruining anything - if you watch the trailer, you’ll see that) - and the community gets torn apart and Starr has to decide if she’ll testify and it’s a crazy story about racism, prejudice, hate, and what our actions are perpetuating. It’s not an us vs. them film - it really does present all sides of the story and there’s lots of space for questions but you do see some pretty heavy scenes and scenarios and it was deeply personal and we had some crazy discussions afterward and Jadyn, was of course asking us if she needed to worry about getting shot if she ever got pulled over by the police. Aside from living in Africa, Dave and I have lived in pretty homogeneous, white suburbia most of our lives and until we went to Detroit or we watch something like this, it’s easy to forget that there is a white privilege that we live with, whether we’re aware of it or not. So yes, SUPER well done and I too would give it a 11 out of a 11!
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Brought to you By
“Today’s show has been brought to you by the word ‘’BELIEF” - you’re on a continual journey of discovery with God. His wholehearted desire is to be fully known by you and for you to be fully known. It’s really all about the knowing...Once you know something, believing becomes obsolete. And to get to the knowing, sometimes you gotta deconstruct, tear down, or rearrange. Always you have to ask questions. And sometimes you have to be okay in the unknowing, knowing that even in that you are safe and there’s an element of freedom! The Mystery of Christ - He has Mysteries that He wants you find and discover, it’s a constant process of growth and reconstruction as you enter greater depths of knowing. Remember...Faith, Hope, and Love, but the Greatest of these is Love! Keep on knowing Love - He’s Crazy about you!
“Until next week...keep embracing the mystery, asking questions, and giving yourself permission to enjoy the process. And watch out for those freakin’ unicorns...they’re glitzy and shimmery and full of crap!” ;)